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Joint letter supporting Multnomah County's proposed fossil-free public buildings resolution

Dear Chair Kafoury and Commissioners Jayapal, Meieran, Stegmann, and Vega Pederson: 

As you know, Multnomah County voters approved a major bond for library construction and improvements in November 2020. We are so grateful for your decision to commit to build and substantively renovate our county libraries to be 100% clean and fossil-free. We are thrilled by the major leadership you are demonstrating by also committing that all future Multnomah County buildings and major renovations are constructed to be fossil-free and to operate using 100% clean energy. Thank you!

We strongly support the immediate adoption of this 100% clean and fossil-free buildings resolution. To address the accelerating climate crisis and bolster our energy resilience, we must build smarter and future-proof public buildings. Clean energy technologies that utilize renewable energy, energy efficiency and storage are safe, cost-effective, and reliable today. On the other hand, fossil gas-powered appliances and their accompanying pipeline infrastructure release harmful climate and air pollution, while posing major safety hazards - especially during natural disasters like earthquakes. Utilizing proven clean energy technologies will avoid locking in reliance on fossil fuels and the need for costly retrofits down the line.

We are grateful that you, as the Multnomah County Commissioners, have previously committed to meeting 100% of community-wide energy needs with renewable energy by 2050 and voted to oppose new fossil fuel infrastructure. The path to a 100% clean energy economy requires not just a 100% clean electric grid, but also energy efficient, all-electric buildings and electrifying transportation, including cars, buses, and trucks. 

This resolution ensuring that all public buildings in the County are built fossil-free from the start is necessary to help meet these climate action commitments. We are very supportive of this resolution also bolstering the electric vehicle strategy needed at County sites to reach our region’s goals to dramatically curb transportation pollution. This resolution will enable county buildings powered by clean electricity (and potentially on-site solar and storage) to be healthy, clean and comfortable places on our community’s best days, and resilient and safe refuges on our community’s toughest days. 

Public works projects are a reflection of the values of the communities they serve. In that spirit, Multnomah County buildings are a reflection of the county you serve. Let’s ensure these buildings reflect our collective dedication to climate action and desire to invest in our clean energy future. We thank you for your leadership and urge the immediate adoption of your 100% clean and fossil-free buildings resolution. 

Best regards,

Meredith Connolly

Oregon Director
Climate Solutions

Oriana Magnera

Energy, Climate and Transportation Program Manager

Micah Bishop

Co-Hub Coordinator

Matt Krogh

SAFE Cities Campaign Director

Debra Higbee-Sudyka

Vice Chair, Conservation Committee
Sierra Club, Oregon Chapter

Bob Sallinger

Conservation Director
Audubon Society of Portland

Laura Krouse

Oregon Field Organizer
Our Climate

Angela Crowley-Koch 

Executive Director
Oregon Solar + Storage Industries Association

Damon Motz-Storey

Healthy Climate Program Director
Oregon Physicians for Social Responsibility

Nora Apter

Climate Program Director
Oregon Environmental Council

Doug Moore

Executive Director
Oregon League of Conservation Voters

Lauren McCloy

Policy Director
NW Energy Coalition

Jim Edelson

Director of Policy
New Buildings Institute

Aaron Barber-Strong

International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers
Local 48

Leonard Barrett

Board Co-President
Families for Climate

Brian Stewart

Electrify Now

Celeste Meiffren-Swango

State Director
Environment Oregon

Peter Kernan

Program Director
Community Energy Project

Nikita Daryanani

Climate & Energy Policy Manager
Coalition of Communities of Color

Amy Hall

Climate Reality Project, Portland Chapter

Coua Xiong

Civic Engagement Manager
Asian Pacific American Network of Oregon

Indi Namkoong

Coalition Manager


Author Bio

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Jonathan Lee

Storytelling and Digital Engagement Manager, Climate Solutions

Jonathan Toshio Lee (pronouns: he/him) is passionate about lifting up stories that educate, inspire, and make positive change. He has over a decade of experience in communications strategy, creating multimedia content, public policy advocacy, and promoting equity, diversity, and social justice. Before joining the Climate Solutions team, Jonathan worked in the crime victims' services field and served as a board member and volunteer with OPAL Environmental Justice Oregon.